SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the activity of ensuring that a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the site is offering, primarily focusing on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in search engines.
Whether you already have a website or are planning to build a fresh site using DistributorCentral’s Responsive Website Editor, understanding the most basic, effective SEO practices that you can do yourself can make a huge difference to your site’s performance since the majority of web traffic is driven by major commercial search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
There is an art and a science to SEO, and an endless array of websites and SEO professionals out there who can help optimize your website, but the following are a few easy tips to help you improve your SEO that you can do yourself.
1. “On-Site” SEO Elements
These elements are part of the content on each page of your website that should be optimized to help search engines accurately index your pages.
Keywords: keep it simple – choose of up to five keywords or keyword phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. There are many keyword search tools available online to help you find the most relevant keywords that will drive ongoing web traffic and conversions on your site. Keywords can be sprinkled throughout the actual page content as well as added to META TAGs on your pages, but having relevant, applicable content in the actual text on your web pages is critical to accurate indexing.
Title Tag: The title tag on pages of your website tells search engines what any given page is about in the most concise and accurate way possible. It should be 70 characters or less and include your business or brand name and keywords that relate to that specific page only. This tag is placed between the <HEAD> </HEAD> tags near the top of the HTML code for the page.
Meta Description: The meta description is the snippet of information below the link of a search result. Its purpose is to describe the contents of the page to the searcher. You want to write your meta description with a human audience in mind that includes the page’s main keywords, as the meta description does show up in search results. It should do everything possible to drive the searcher to click.
2. Additional On-Site SEO Elements
Internal Links – You can help search engines learn more about your website by internally linking to other pages on your website within your content. Leverage tools such as DistributorCentral’s “Custom URL Builder” to create direct, succinct, links to key pages or product categories on your site. For example, you could create a custom URL that, for example, appears to the search engines as “mywebsite.com/tumblers” that links to a specific set of tumblers that you feature on your website. Search engines love short, descriptive URLS when categorizing your website.
Header Tags – Using header tags helps both readers and search engines break up your content into digestible sections. Each page should have a main header title tag (“H1” tags in html) that describes what that page contains. Subheaders (H2, H3, etc.) can further categorize content on that page.
Image Name & ALT Tags – Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage but they also search for keywords within your image file names, so name your images descriptively and in plain English. Alt tags are shown when you hover over an image with your mouse and they add SEO value to your website. Adding appropriate alt tags to your images can help you achieve better rankings by associating keywords with images. Using alt tags is an effective way for your e-commerce products to show up in Google image and web search.
The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on your website. Here are some examples of quality content:
- Blog Posts
- Industry Articles
- Case Studies
Creating quality content for your website can be a huge investment of time and resources, but it doesn’t have to be if you take advantage of the resources already available to you. Search engines love relevant content, and ideally visitors to your site find the content useful such that they share it via social media, leading to even more visitors. You can start out simple by creating blog posts on your website, and as your audience grows, you can expand your content to include additional types of media.
4. Link Building
The basic goal of link building is to get other websites to link to yours.
Link Building Ideas for Promotional Products Distributors:
- Submit guest blog posts to popular blogs in our industry and to the markets you sell to. Generally, you will get a link back to your website in an author notation. DistributorCentral often features guest blog articles about industry or trends.
- Reach out to related (but not competitive) businesses to see if they will link to you. A good way to do this is to see if the businesses you work with have link pages on their site for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
- Create local search profiles and social media profiles to attract clicks and generate more incoming traffic to your website.
- Submit your website to applicable industry directories. For example, a promotional product distributor that specializes in custom wedding invitations and save the date magnets could get listings with a link back to their website on The Knot or The Wedding Channel and other similar sites.
- Submit your website to the “local” pages of Google, Bing, etc., to ensure that your site is found “locally” when people are searching for services such as yours in your area.
- Create your own or find Infographics to convey the power of leveraging promotional products in your clients marketing efforts. Take advantage of PPAI’s resources that speak to the power and value of promotional products:
Get In Touch Advertising site and the Promotional Products Work site
5. Monitor your Results – keep track of your SEO progress
There are a lot of valuable SEO tools available online. Start with basic monitoring to help you learn more about whether your SEO efforts are making a difference. Google Analytics can help you learn more about the visitors to your website and monitor your organic search traffic sources to see what keywords people are using to find your website in search results.
In today’s SEO world things such as mobile responsiveness, the use of an SSL certificate to prove to visitors that your site is secure, and the actual speed and performance of your site play into where your website ranks with the search engines. Leverage tools such as Moz Pro, SEMRush, and SEO Report Card will help you identify effective keywords, build links and keep an eye on key metrics for both you and your competitors. Monitor traffic to your website as you launch new marketing initiatives and learn from which efforts drive traffic to your site and which don’t.
Adjusting your tactics as a result of accurate analytics is one of the most powerful ways to build your sites’ relevance and search engine rankings.